Will Spotify’s music platform hit the right note with brands?

Spotify’s Daniel Ek must’ve really enjoyed his time on stage with fellow young-gun chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at this year’s f8 conference, because yesterday he took to the stage in what was the company’s first ever press conference to announce its new ‘game changing’ app platform.

And it is not only presentation style, which the digital music service has learned from its new buddy Facebook. Spotify is adopting a similar ‘open’ platform approach and has picked entertainment and media brands for the launch of its new music apps, in a similar way to the majority Facebook’s first social apps.

Of course Facebook has expanded its open graph API to all developers, with the second wave of social apps to go live any week now, when its timeline rolls out.

In the UK, we can expect to see brands beyond the current media and entertainment ones, rolling out their first social apps on Facebook as agencies and marketers explore the brand building opportunities beyond pages.

Demo of new music apps

Much in the same way, Spotify will see interest from brands across all sectors, such as FMCG, fashion and alcohol, looking at ways to have that much-desired music connection with consumers.

While Spotify has a great track record with brands, beginning to offer them creative opportunities beyond media, like the recent Levi’s gig tie-up, marketers will have to approach music apps with caution.

As Ross Adams, sales director of Spotify Europe told me yesterday at the London arm of the event, it is only natural that brands will want to join the platform, but Spotify won’t be letting them make apps ‘for the sake of it’.

‘They need to have a ‘natural link with music,’ he said.

His comments echo those made by a panel of digital music industry experts at Internet Week Europe last month (see the latest Revolution magazine), who said that while music provides a great opportunity for brands to build more intimate relationships with consumers, they must tread carefully in the area.

Dom Hodge, planning director of music marketing agency Frukt said that brands are increasing their investment in music by 20% annually, but they must ensure there is a ‘natural fit’ for the brand in the space.

Similarly, Dave Haynes, vice-president of business development at SoundCloud said if brands don’t get their message right in music there will be ‘instant backlash’ for not only the brand but the platform.

So with this in mind Spotify’s softly softly strategy of keeping control over the apps made and carefully selecting the brands, big or small, which best suit them, is a sensible one.

Of course it is not as ‘open’ a platform as they would have developers imagine, but this too is a complaint some people in the industry say they have with Facebook.

Separately, in another interesting Spotify move, Campaign reports today it has hired its first ad agency VCCP Share, to create a new digital ad campaign around its Facebook partnership.

Much has been written about Spotify looking to knock iTunes off its perch in the digital music space, and this appointment along with its new app strategy, show the five year old music service is truly stepping up to the plate.